With drivers no longer able to rely on the paper counterpart to hire a care it is important to access the new database in good time.
The paper counterpart to photocard driving licences is no longer valid or issued by the DVLA.While the government introduced the counterpart licence to include details that would not fit on the photocard, it is being removed as part of an initiative to remove the red tape surrounding driving.Instead, from 8 June 2015, information will now be held online, on a new database.
Information that will be stored would be the kind usually needed to hire a car, such as penalty points or the particular vehicles a motorist is allowed to drive. But the steps that drivers have to take to be able to hire a car now have increased the potential for frustration at the travel desk.
Before hiring: what drivers need to do:
Once you decide that you want to hire a car it is important to go to the new Share Driving Licence website set up by the DVLA. Users will then need to input their driving licence number, the postcode the licence was registered at and also their national insurance number. This will then generate a unique code that the person needs to keep to give, along with their photocard, to the car hire company. The company will then have access to the driver’s records although, crucially, the code is only valid for 72 hours and can only be used once.
This could mean that tourists on long-haul flights will have to be quick to hire a car at the beginning of their holiday rather than sleeping off the jet lag.
While the measures will be implemented as a standard by the DVLA, the AA are advising “a belt and braces approach” when it comes to hiring a car abroad – they suggest taking both the photocard and, if motorists still have one, the paper counterpart to the licence.
Edmund King, the AA’s president, said:
“What we don’t want to see are UK drivers, who may not be aware of the change or may bump into the unexpected such as the main driver becoming ill, being obliged to hire from dodgy car rental firms who don’t care about the driver’s record. Whilst most drivers will be happy to see the back of the cumbersome paper part of the photocard licence, there is widespread confusion as to what they should now do to ensure they stay within the law and what documentation will be required at the rental check-in desk. Taking a copy of your driving licence on-line record will, hopefully, get holidaymakers through this summer, but a re-think may be needed if problems develop. One of the potential pitfalls may be drivers not knowing their national insurance number.”